Thursday, June 30, 2005

The new PIMs on old Palms

Surely you have noticed that all new PalmOne-PDAs use the PIM-applications "Calendar, Contacts, Tasks" and "Memos" instead of "Address" and so on. Introduced with Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E, you can even add a birthday and a website in "Contacts", use colours to differentiate categories in "Calendar" and write notes with up to 32 KBytes in "Memos".






Did you ever wonder if these applications can be runned on other palms? I thought that they'll run on all palms with Palm OS 5.x. But as you can see on the pictures they even run on old palms like IIIc running Palm OS 4.1, even on Alphasmart Dana! Also the applications "Favourites", "Files" or "Prefs" have no problems with this old 68k operating system. "Favourites" can save 4 x 8 applications, web pages or files and was introduced with the Tungsten T5. "Files" is included with every PalmOne-handheld with an integrated flash memory or hard disk and is a file management tool. The "Prefs"-application is nothing special but has another design, introduced with Palm OS 5.2. And even VersaMail until version 2.6 will run on Palm OS 4.



In the next part of this article you can read how to copy those applications on YOUR palm !

The Zodiac Files

Well, I finally ordered the Zodiac 2 for 299.99. You can get this great price from JR.com. But they are going fast so hurry. You can also get the zodiac 1 for 224.99. I will be going to our cabin this weekend so I wish you all a happy 4th of July. I will hopefully get my zodiac 2 by Wednesday, and I can review it and test Tam's Software.

Thanks, Mitch

The 1src PodCast 30-a few little addons

Mitch Rusk alreadysaid it-the 1src podcast number 30 is out. So, first of all we have to congratulate Jeff about his success! Indeed, he usually has interesting news and hints in every podcast-but there always are little flaws, just like in all other things on earth(no, don't run a spellchecker on TamsPalm, no! no! no!).
So, here is what we have to add to this podcast:
Bluetoth discovery
I can remeber darkly that the bluetoth discovery works the other way round-its not the discoverable device that sends data, but it is the discovering device. It sends out data on all bluetooth channels(takes 10.4 second)!
Block sizes
Some NAND Flash ROMs are said to have an internal blocksize(see http://tamspalm.blogspot.com/2004/11/it-flashes-fixed.html, the post was corrected by Ben Combee). This block size cannot be changed. However, if PalmOne changes the NVFS storage system, they can store data belonging to different files in the same sector. The data from two files simply shares one sector!
PalmOS target market
Jeff says that PalmOne's target market are the people who can chuck out 500$ with ease. the question here is: how many people are there who can do this? Also, if PalmOne is targeting white-collar professonals, why is there the Zire line then? Which white-collar professional wants a cam in his PDA? PalmOne definitely aims at consumers with its Zire line IMHO-or why else should they have two different product lines that contain essentially the same!
What do you think?

1src Podcast 30

It seems that we now discuss every 1src.com podcast. But, Jeff Does a good job with them. So, this podcasts talks about the rumored Tungsten XX or T7. It has a 312mhz processor, wi-fi, Bluetooth, 320x480, and the usual other stuff. One thing I don't like is that it is the same design as the Tungsten E, E2, and T5. Although it could probably use T5 accessories, it is an outdated style. What do you think?

Also, what would you think about Tamspalm podcasts? Post your comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Alexander Gratz-a new TamsPalm face

Dear Readers,
Once again-it is time to welcome a new author. Give a warm welcome to Alexander Gratz. But lets let him write about himself:
With this post I introduce myself at TamsPalmBlog. My first palm was a
V I got in february 2004 as a personal organizer. Since July 2004, I own
a Tungsten C, not only for appointments and addresses. It's now about
one year that I'm *very* interested in this topic, especially
device-specific software on other devices (like NetFront on a T3) and "big" third-party projects such as TCPMP. I'm active in several forums
and use my PDA very often, for appointments, tasks, films, mail check or
web surfing."

I personally know him as a software freak-his TC is full of T5,.. stuff! A new face-I am waiting for your oppinions. Constructive criticism of his first posts is wanted!
Best regards
Tam Hanna and the TamsPalm Team

PalmSource sure takes a while to get things done

I just took a look at the PalmSource website. On the front developers page, they mention that they have developed an ARM emulator. Before all you developers get your hopes up, you should know you have to be in the Inside Track program to access it.

Here is the problem. The Palm OS before version 5 used 68k processors. Now that we are at version 5, they use ARM processors. The problem is that the simulators and emulators for OS5 devices only run 68k, and not ARM code. This means that if a developer wants to write an app that uses ARM code, they have to buy the actual device to test with it, since their programs will not run on the simulator. (Dmitry for one has this problem since SkinUI is written in ARM)

In my humble opinion, this is something that should have been released when the OS was released. It is quite sad that Palm took this long, and now normal developers still cant get their hands on it. This is symptomatic of Palm's problems, and they are going to have to turn it around if they want to keep developers, their most important customers.

What do you think? Does Palm need to get their act together, and are actions like this simply outrageous?

The Zodiac Files

Sorry I haven't updated them lately. I am having issues with paypal, but hopefully I can order my Zod by Friday. I have been changing my mined over and over again about whether I should get a zodiac 1 or 2. Currently I'm thinking of getting a Zodiac 2 and cradle, but that could change. Sorry it's taking so long, I'm dealing with paypal and there slow so be patient. I have also noticed that Tapwave has taken the Zodiac 1 off the site so I better hurry!

Thanks, Mitch

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More Mobile Stream development docs

This being a somewhat developer oriented website, I am asserting my right to post something actually developer related.

Mobile Stream has done alot of work reverse engineering different functions of the Palm OS. They released a large amount of documentation a little while ago, and now they have updated it. There seem to be some Zodiac info, and alot more info on the Sony hardware, including a new library for the Sony DSP on HHE Clies. There is even a library for the Drive Mode function on certain Palm devices.

So, if you are a developer, and you want to get your hands on this info, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The PalmGear "algorithm tax" for developer fulfillment

Motricity aka PalmGear recently raised developer commission to 40%. This didn't hit developers that were part of the former "premier" programs, but since the standard programs(30% margin and no ads) ceased to exist, the entry margin now was 40%.
But, there was something else, buried deep in the email that PalmGear sent out. All developers who use developer fulfillment have to pay 5% extra. I wondered why... And now I think that I may have an idea! I have no official confirmation whatsoever, but I think that it it plausible.
If you use developer fulfillment, the ESD knows nohing about hiw your registration process works. they dont have serial numbers, don't have your algorithm-they dont have anything but your contact email address and your evaluation versions!
And this is what the ESD's dislike. PalmGear does not let a developer delete his program off the site if it sold once-they would loose revenue that way(thats why there are soo many old, unsupported programs online there). A creative TamsPalm reader who wanted his programs deleted did the following:
I don't care if they delete me. Actually, this is what I want. I don't give a damn about their rules, they dont have my algorithms or anything, I break their rules until they ban me!

And this is the point. If PalmGear had had his unlock code algorithm, they wouldn't care about him. They could just keep on selling the program and would hand out the registration codes themselves. Our fellow reader would have to be happy if they give him his cut of the profits, as he cannot control how much they sell.
In order to move developers over to this new fulfillment method and away from the developer fulfillment method, they add an "extra tax" for all the developers that use the unbeloved-because independant-fulfillment method...
What do you think?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why Speedy does not feel the T5 update

Jeff Kivin recently discussed the T5 update in his 1src podcast. There, he said the following:
Speedy does not see any benefit from the T5's recent system update. But, we all know how Speedy does not measure ARM Processor's performance accurately!

Indeed, this looks true at the first glance. But, if one truly understands what a benchmark does, it all becomes wrong. Lets go back in history a bit to clear this up.
When the first XSCALE PocketPC's debutd, they had CPU benchmarks that were off the roof. However, most applications ran way slower on them than they did on the StrongARM machines because Windows CE was not optimized for the new CPU architecture at that time.
So, most benchmarks measure the capabilities of hardware. They usually contain a few loops that have very little to do with the OS. They essentially stress-test the processor and other hardware for their native capability-this is, what they can do physically!
But applications need more than that! They usually interfere with the operating system, and thus put an extra layer betwen them and the CPU/hardware. This abstraction layer costs extra performance.
So, when you update the abstraction layer to make it faster, the hardware benchmark does not see any benefits. However, applications can get way faster-just like what T5 users are experiencing right now! The data manager routines were made faster, but how should this affect the system bus, the processor speed, ...?
Do you have an explanation?

The Zodiac Files Continues

Tapwave Zodiacs are getting increasingly hard to find. My local Compusa only offers Zodiac 2's now. I'm fearing that once I buy my Zodiac (once the buyer on eBay pays me) that there will be no more games made for it. Tapwave doesn't say anything and I think we deserve to know. Are they not making them anymore? Why Can't I find Zodiacs anywhere but online? Tell us Tapwave!

Also, AOL messed up and now I won't have internet for a few days. So now that I am having second thoughts, I will let you guys know what I bought (once I have internet again). This will probably be Tuesday.

Any last thoughts?

-Mitch

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Why the LifeDrive security "flaw" is not so important

Recently, a method surfaced that allowed users to selectively format parts of the LifeDrive's internal harddrive.
While I personally beleive that this is extremely risky (what if you hit the reset button a little too late, it starts formatting immediately and some data my be damaged), some will now be concerned about the security of their data.
I personally say that there is little reason for beeing concerned! If a thief gets your LifeDrive and really wants the data, he can just remove the hard drive from the machine and read it externally! It may be a bit more effort, but he gets the data anyway if he wants to!
But, actually, the whole LifeDrive hard reset story should have been done differently. The LifeDrive small rom/IOS that handles hard resets could have been made aware of the Palm OS pasword protction scheme. It then could read the password file before offering the menu, and then either ask for password or just erase everything. So, the legitimate user can decide what he wants to have erased, but the thief would still have problems. One can only wonder why they did this(but I don't wonder about PalmOne anymore now that they are unable to repair my T3)..
What do you hink?

GMail invites out my ears!!

Just to remind everyone, you can always get a GMail invite if you want it from Tam or I. I am available at jjesusfreak01@gmail.com

Friday, June 24, 2005

Palm and PPC owners unite!!!

Just recently Picard, the TCPMP head developer, released TCPMP version .65y. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but a quick look at the new test version page will show otherwise. It seems Picard has merged the code for all versions of TCPMP. This includes all PPC and Palm, and whatever else it runs on. What this means for the user is that Picard can more easily add to the code, and have it running on all devices. Also, Picard said that this was one of the last steps before TCPMP hits a 1.0 release version.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, TCPMP is a free open source media player that works on most handheld devices. On many PPC devices it uses hardware acceleration to boost video playback speed. On the Palm side, it uses hardware acceleration for the HHE family of Clies (UX, TH, and VZ), as well as the Zodiac series. On certain devices it is even able to remove the white border thats always around the screen. It is the best media player available for handheld devices, and is under constant development.

Alarms-an alarm beta tester's friend

Dont we all hate debugging programs based on the alarm manager. There is no way to see if the event was identified and installed correctly-except waiting... .
This is where Erwin Schomburgs 10k binary comes in. After Launch, it just displays a no-frills dump of all applications and their registered alarms:

This screenshot comes from a test user account on my Tungsten T3. The program works flawlessly, but does not support the DIA. VFS is no problem though.
The current version can be downloaded from FreewarePalm. TamsPalm has archived version 2.0.0q from the 21/01/2005 for you in case the program ever goes off-line.
BTW, this program is postcardware. So, if you like it and have a nice hand writing, send a postcard to the address that the program displays. If you cant write for whatever reason, drop him an email at erwin.schomburg@t-online.de.
Will you use this program?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Finally-MakeClie and MakeTungsten got signed

Finally, TapWave developer Joyce has signed MakeClie and MakeTungsten. These two products allowed PalmOne handheld users to use NertFront on their devices, and Sony Clie users to use WebPro, PhoneLink(works really well)....!
Now, here are the patched zodiac downloads:
MakeClie
MakeTungsten
While I cannot gurantee that they will work(maybe Netfront needs signing as well before it can work as it contains ARM code), they should now be able to changwe the feature.
BTW, the Not for Zodiac banners in these two files can be safely ignored.
Please report in on success and failure!

Tapland Forums

I was looking for some good forums for zodiac users and stumbled across tapland.com. But to my surprise there was a thread about me getting a zodiac! I guess people do read this blog :). So, many thanks to you Brian, on the Tapland forums for the welcome to the zodiac world. If you are a zodiac user, I highly recomend these forums, they are very helpfull.

Thanks everybody, -Mitch

oh, I am registered on the tapland forums, can you guess who I am?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Zodiac Files

Ahh, the Tapwave Zodiac 2. One of the best Palm devices ever made in my opinion. I will hopefully be purchasing a zodiac 2 this weekend. I will be keeping the experience updated daily on Tamspalm. Just look for "The Zodiac Files", and hopefully you and I will learn something. So until Saturday (or Sunday) as the Australian say, "gooday mate"

By the way, I'm not Australian.

-Mitch

The T5 update-finally, its here

Actually, I didn't beleive that this would come anymore. But PalmOne actualy released an update for the Tungsten T5. Here is a list of changes included in version 1.1 of the T5 updater:


  • Resolves problems caused when synchronizing large databases and files
  • Fixes problems in the Calendar relating to Birthdays or recurring notes
  • Fixes an issue with the Find feature and Calculator application
  • Provides non-volatile file system improvements(Ben Combee stated that the NVFS software gets replaced by the one contained in the Life Drive)

Also included from version 1.0 (released October 2004):

  • Fixes a problem in the Calendar that can cause a crash when the default view is changed from Agenda to Month View
  • Fixes an issue in Contacts when using the Menu drop down list for new entries
  • Adjusts the Palm OS soft keyboard to prevent system instability in certain situations


This is a ROM update, so it will not get lost after a hard reset. However, all data that is installed on the handheld is erased in the update process-bad news if you are on the go...
Download the file at:
http://www.palmone.com/us/support/downloads/tungstent5/tungstent5update.html
What do you think?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

sysExternalConnectorDetachEvent and sysExternalConnectorAttachEvent on different devices

In the process of developing my products, I had a lot of "fun" with these two notifications and the different implementations on PalmOs handhelds.
as a little explanation for beginers-the PalmOs sends out notifications to programs when something hapens in order to allow them to react. Thesde notifications are sent when a peripheral is attached to or detached from a PalmOS handheld that has at least an universal connector-or thats the theory!
I looked all over the PalmOne pluggedin program to gather the following information for you:
Tungsten E
I found nothing about this device in the plugedin area. However, I once tested my evaluation program on sucbh a machine and it worked with both charger and USB cable. So, implemented ok here IMHO.
Tungsten E2
Implemented ok. PalmOne describes the following codes:

1. DockStatusCharging
This notification is sent out when the Power Adapter is attached.
2. DockStatusUSBCradle
This notification is sent out when the USB Cable or Cradle is attached. There is a bug in Tungsten T5 which causes this notification to be also sent out when a serial peripheral is attached.
3. DockStatusSerialPeripheral

Tungsten T3
My "beloved" T3-I have no problems with that. Works like a charm! What a pity for the stupid build quality, the software is quite nice there!
Tungsten T5
Codes similar to TE2. However, a bug is in the hardware(oh yeah, Mr Brosch):
If a serial peripheral is attached, you also get the USB notification. If you attach a USB peripheral, you get the serial notification in addition. If you attach a autio peripheral, you also get the serial notification in addition!
LifeDrive
Implemented with same codes like T5, E2. No information about Bugs.
Treo 650
Not implemented at all!
How is your device performing? Got something to add to that table?

Literature sources:
PalmOne pluggedin document palmOne_SDK_5_0_Docs_Developer_Guide.pdf Page 22
PalmOne pluggedin document AN_Multi_Connector_and_Serial_Peripheral_Usage.doc (about T5 bug)

Help Me!

I'm going to get a new Palm OS device. But I'm having trouble deciding. I am leaning towards the Tapwave Zodiac 2. But this device is a year old, and it might be discontinued. Also I don't know if 200mhz is fast enough for the multimedia tasks I do. I'm looking for a device under $350. Anybody have any recommendations?

Monday, June 20, 2005

PalmSource sample code dump

Don't we all love it? No, this post does not talk about drinking energy drinks for free, but rather about readily available sample code! Learning how to program from an SDK can be difficult trial-and-error work, and having ready, working code to look at speeds up the process! PalmSource has a nice depot on its homepage. Here is a direct link to the dump:
http://www.palmos.com/dev/dl/dl_codesamples/
The code samples provided in this page cover about every Palm OS thing one ever needs-from A like alarms to erm, z like ???. Also, there are some complete applications and games ready for downloading to your device.
What do you think?

Understand 1337 speak and other junk

Just in case you ever want to lurk down into the "underground" of the internet-Microsoft has published a little(a bit limited) guide on how to interpret the so-called leet speek on its web site. Tune in via this link:
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidtalk.mspx
Altough real coders usually do not use such language, it is still helpful to be able to understand it just in case you ever need it.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why GMAIL doesnt have to go public to be public

GMAIL logo from google's homepage
UPDATE:
The Isnoop spooler is offline!

Lets get offtopic for a minute. Everyone loves GMAIL-and indeed it is a nice service! Many users permanentely discuss if it has already gone public, but this is childsplay and foolish talk if you ask me!
There are hundreds of sites offering GMAIL invites in exchange for an email, just googling for an invite will lead you to the isnoop spooler where hundreds of invites are waiting! After getting over a captcha, a nice invite is dispatched to your location, and you have a lovely new GMAIL account!
Try to think about this for a minute! Everyone who really wants an account, can get it with not too much work. But scammers and the infamous Joe Schmoe is not willing to take this effort if he can have an account somewhere else with less effort. Why should you try to get over a captcha,... if you can get an email account easier somewhere else.
Thus, not going public only has advantages for GMAIL, as it keeps the mailing service a tech people thing. The MIT hackers originally developerd a time sharing system where there was a call to kill the entire system, but nobody ever used it because each one knew that he was responsible for everything else! Thus, GMAIL users will not give accounts to people who don't know how to use it in a smart and responsible way! Also, people who just want to do crap with their account will search for another provider where there is less "trouble" to overcome!
What do you think?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fitaly DOES now work on the LifeDrive!

Jeff Kirvin, and all others waiting for this can now go buy their LifeDrives. Though Textware solutions has not officially released a fix to support Fitaly on the LifeDrive, it seems they are supporting this workaround. Im not suree what he did, but Alexander Pruss (the creator of SkinDIA) found a workaround that works with SkinDIA to complete this task.

You can find the page here.

Credit where credit is due: Guest on 1src "thinkertank" tipped me off to the story.

Tapwave Zodiac users rejoice-Signing is on the way

Finally, it has happened. A TapWave official called Joyce is currently working on the signing of both MakeClie and MakeTungsten! If the programs pass the signing process, the updated versions will appear here ASAP...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Jeff vs DIA

Jeff Kirvin recently discussed the DIA on his 1src podcast. Lets just cut this message short:
The PalmOne DIA is not documented. Almost every developer has some kind of issues with it...

I am not sure what to say about this. The PalmOne DIA implementation is standardized by PalmSource. Altough there may for sure be some differences in the internal implementation(what Fitaly needs for example), most applications do not need these internals. They go by the PalmSource DIA API, and thats it! In case you don't beleive me, just look at the Programmers Companion number one. It contains an entire section about it, and the DIA works well in my test program on both T3 and T5.
And some more about what Jeff beleives about killing developers. Carriers were very happy when Java midlets were introduced, and they happily sell both PocketPC's and Symbian Series 60 machines! Both of these platforms allow third-party programs to do really much, and nobody bickers! Third-party stuff is a nice argument to drive people away from tech support, and also allows carriers to forward customers to third parties...
What do you think?

palmOne and Developers

Jeff, over on 1src.com has posted a new Podcast about palmOne and the lack of communication towards the developers. I agree with him on this and palmOne should be releasing more information on garnet. Please listen to this podcast and post your comments here. i hope to have jeff post here once I talk to him. Thanks, Mitch

Monday, June 13, 2005

Device testing-how not to do it

When you look at the release history for PalmOs handhelds, you will see a strange pattern. Whenever a device with new features(let it be Palm IIIc with color, m5xx with VFS(smoother due to TRGpro, Clie) Hires with Tungsten, etc) appears, it takes a long time until the average application supports these new features... . Also, whenever a new devicve appears, it takes quite some time until all the major apps run on it as well as they should(speed, etc).
I feel that the current NVFS catastrophe partially is home-made by PalmOne because they were to stupid to release a nice lot of demo units to developers. If developers had had a NVFS demo device, say 4 weeks before release, they could report bugs immediately. PalmOne would have an update available by release, and everything were fine!
Some people will now complain about how it will seriously impede sales/secrecy, etc. but I think that this is not true! Number one, a developer who is on an NDA usually keeps to it. And who tells you that you must release the devices in final housing, with final designations, etc. A NVFS T5 chucked into a spare Palm III housing and called Palm X would not have given any major clues, but would have prevented the desaster we are experiencing now. A developer does not really care about the housing of his product, but he hell cares about compatibility...
What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Tungsten T5 Guts

I recently tried to solder my wi-fi card to the inside of my Tungsten T5, but accedently broke the video connection. But palmone sent me a free replacement despite me having opened it. anyways here are some photos of the inside of the Tungsten T5 I took.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
as you can see the screen is made by SHARP.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Here you can see the battery (bottom left) wich is made by samsung.
That is the speaker (left middle) wich is much bigger than the Tungsten E's.
The SD card slot (right top) Headphone jack (right Top middle)
That black rectangle on the right is the video connection I broke.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The silvver square is either the proccessor or the Bluetooth radio.
Ram is under the black plastic.
Their is clip of the Tungsten T5/E2/LifeDrive cradle Too.

It may seem that their is alot of extra room inside the T5 like the Tungsten E, But their really isn't. In the Tungsten e their is room for a second battery, but in the T5 their is practically no room at all. palmOne really cramed the T5 in here. In fact it would probably need to be thicker (about .7") to fit wi-fi and vibrating alerts.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

LEDManager updated to version 1.1

Just a quick alert to all LEDManager customers-LEDManager was recently updated to version 1.1! In case you missed the information email, here is a list of the updates:
  • Enabled toggle now works on all handhelds
  • Internal fixes
The program can be obtained from www.tamoggemon.com! Registration is 3.49$ at PalmGear's!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Why NVFS is not a neccessity

Jeff Kirvin, our well-known podcaster over at 1src recently stated the following in his number 27 podcast(abbreviated):
NVFS is the greatest innovaton, as it allows users to let their bateries run empty without loosing their data. An original Palm handheld lost its data as its battery ran out...

This is true at the first look, but I feel that it is wrong! I currently have a IIIc loaned to a friend of mine. She is one of the people Jeff describes in his podcast, as she uses her devices until she literally runs out of power and the device switches off! I sometimes used all the energy off my IIIc, m505, etc and never had any problems either.
This has a simple reason:backup energy. A Palm OS handheld shuts off if there still is enough power in the battery to keep the RAM supplied for up to five/seven(a week) days. My Tungsten T3 refuses to power on if the battery is empty, and so did the other machines. While NVFS may help if the battery management was like on PocketPC(no battery=RAM dead), it is not really neccecary for a Palm OS handheld. Everyone uses his handheld at least once every week-and would note an empty battery pretty fast because his handheld won't power up anymore! He would walk up to the machine and plug it in, and it will start if there is enough energy in the battery to keep the RAM suppied once again for 7 days...
What do you think?

Dell x50v Review

I recently bought a Dell axim x50v. I just wasn't happy with the video, wireless, and gaming performance on my Tungsten T5. I now have an account on aximsite.com (a ppc forum) and have seen hundreds of palm users switching to the x50v. Because of this I decided to right a review of it for those of you thinking of making the switch. Please note this is a very PPC friendly review and that palm has major advantages of windows and vise-versa.

At first site I did not like the looks of the dell x50v. It is black and has a silver edge that travels around the front side off the device. But now that I see it in my hand I have changed my mind. It looks very good. It is made of plastic and the sides are a rubber-like texture so the device doesn't slip out of your hand.

Specs

There are Three models the x50v, x50 (mid), and the x50(low). All look exaclty the same except for the v. the X50v has a 624mhz processor, 64mb of ram, 128mb of rom, windows mobile 2003se, VGA display, wi-fi, bluetooth, microphone, and an intel 2700g graphics accelerator with 16mb of ram.

In the box

In the box is x50v, cd-rom, slip case, charger, cradle, charge adaptor, stylus, battery, manual, and 3d games cd. The slip case is elastic and lined with felt. The case can scratch the shiny black part on the x50v though.

Performance

With the x50v's 624mhz processor and 64mb of ram and 128mb of rom you would think it gets along pretty well, but it doesn't. My x50v suffers from serious lag. It seems that out of nowhere the is just plain old lag. The device runs well but then all of the sudden BANG! you get the little spinning wheel. This may be only my device but it is a serious problem. Dell may fix this in the future though.

Screen

Unfortunately the screen on the x50v is not as saturated as the HP hx4700 (the other device with a VGA screen) But in the x50v's defense the Hx4700 screen has a yellow-blue tint and the x50v screen is pure white. The brightness of the x50v screen is very good, better than my Tungsten T5. I also like how I can turn the backlight completely off by holding the power button.

Video

The video on this device is awesome! I can play videos on my x50v that would require the Tungsten T5 to be overclocked to 2000mhz! I guess that the 2700g graphics accelerator really helps. Unfortunately the only program that plays videos and supports the 2700g is Betaplayer. But betaplayer is a very good program and is free.

Buttons

The x50v has 9 buttons , all of witch can be remaped. All of the buttons could be a little bigger but otherwise I am pleased with their response. First there is the power button on the front. It is backlight and lights green and amber when the device is charging. Unfortunately the paint has been known to come off of the power button. The next three buttons are on the left side of the device. First from top to bottom is the lock button, this botton locks all other bottons and the screen. Next is the wireless button, this button turns on the last wireless function you used, it also turns off the wireless and needs to be pressed twice. after that is the record botton for the microphone. then there are four buttons pluse the D-pad that open various apps.

Battery

The x50v comes with a 1100mah removable battery. I wish this battery was a little bigger, but you can get the extended 2200mah battery for about $100. With this battery I get about three hours of movie playback, and better mp3 playback. There is also an internal backup 30 minute battery.

Software

The x50v comes with the usual windows programs. Dell inludes a few extra apps. First is the switcher bar you can use to close and switch programs. Next is the processor manager that allows you to put the processor in 624mhz, 520mhz, 208mhz and auto. It also includes 2 3D games Stuntcar extreme, And Enigmo.

Cradle

The x50v comes with a very nice cradle. It doesn't have the old blue baclite dell name. But it has a charge LED. The cradle holds the x50v and charges a second battery. It is black plastic with a heavy aluminum base. I like this cradle very much. Palmone should learn from dell. The x50v aslo charges in the cradle with or without being pluged into an a/c outlet. but when charging on usb the device must be off.

expansion

There are two slots. SD/SDIO/MMC, and Compact Flash Type II. It also has VGA out, with an extra $80 cable you can connect this device to projectors, computers, TV's with the VGA cable. You can also go to PPCTechs.com and get the 128 ram upgrade.

Audio

The x50v has a standard audio jack and an internal speaker. The speaker is under the Dpad but could be louder. Headphone audio is very nice, probabley because it uses the same audio chip as ipod. The audio chip has an internal equalizer and you can access this with the free software called x50 mix.

Wireless

The wi-fi has very good range and the Dell wlan utility makes it simple to set up. i have not had a chance to use bluetooth but I connected to my sony erricson T610 with it. Wireless is still not as easy to set up as on a palm device but is accomplishable.

activesync

I like this much better than palm hotsynk. When you set the device in the cradle it automatically syncs and constanly syncs untill you stop it. It works very well and easily with Outlook too.

Conclusion

I really like this divice and will keep it for a while. I wish it had better battery life and a better screen but so far it seems ok. you can get the x50v for around $400-500 dollars. I don't know if the extra $200 is worth the better screen and trakpad on the hx4700, but that is up to you. So, if you are thinking of switching to windows, remember Palm is WAY more simple to use.

-mitch

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Quick mention-8GB 1 inch drive coming

This information is off SysOpt mailing lists:

..., for consumer electronics applications, Seagate also highlighted the EE25 automotive hard drive line; the 1-inch 8GB ST1 Series targeted at handhelds; the 2-inch, low-power game console LD25 Series; and a home entertainment/DVR series, the DB35, offering up to 500GB in capacity. These drives are either currently shipping in limited quantities to OEMs, or are expected within months. The EE25, however, won't debut until fall. ...

That definitely is great news. So, the next LifeDrive may have 8GB or even more! What do you think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pug Vienna met a few days ago

The vienniese Palm user group met in vienna on the 2.06.2005. I could not stay thjere long becasue of other taks and exams, but-here is a short scoop.

Here you see Herwig. He was our one-man entertainer and kept us well informed about Macs, graphics design and other stuff. Color calibration and color management are very interesting topics!

Which of these papers is whiter? The correct answer is: none of the two. The one is a little yellowish, but the other one has slight blue shades in it.

Alex, our organizer discussed heavily-we were only three...

The vienniese skyline was beautiful. It was very warm and we could sit on the roof of the coffee shop!

Boris was late. Here you see his girlfriend with her Zire 71 that somehow reincarnated after being licked to death by her son!
Is there a Palm meet in your area?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

GMAIL giveaway-Part 4

GMAIL logo from google's homepageThere are still people emailing me for a GMAIL invite once every now and then. I still have a few invites to give away-read below for instructions.
Here is a list of features:

  • 2gb of mail storage-and its getting more and more
  • Login serves as Google groups account
  • HTML email support in on-line app
  • Spam filter
  • Basic web frontend accessible from every browser
  • POP access
  • 10MB maximum email size
So, if you want a GMAIL account, please email me at Tamog@gmx.at.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Is it a bug or a feature?

The new PalmOne "LifeDrive" is out and there are already heavy discussions in several forums. One of the most controversial "features" is the complete deletion of the internal hard drive during a hard reset.

This has lead to big trouble in some discussions. Some users say that this feature is rather a bug. What if you have stored a lot of pictures of your last holiday onto the LifeDrive and during your way home it crashes and needs a hard reset? All of your wonderfull pictures will be lost! This may cause a lot of trouble to PalmOne. Especially because on their anouncements they expose the LiveDrive's ability to store a great amount of data like pictures and mp3s. And a user with no experience on Palm OS devices will be heavily surprised about the loss of data. And perhaps he might be a little bit unhappy or even angry...

On the other side there are users who do not complain about the LifeDrive's behaviour during a hard reset. They think it's okay if the hard drive is deleted. Their explanation is that a Palm OS device seldom crashes. And if, a soft reset should solve the problem in most cases. I think this is rather a weak argument. A better argument is maybe that all the data on the internal hard drive is saved during the hotsynch operation. But this won't be usefull while you are on the road.

So what do you think? Is the deletion of the LifeDrive's hard disk a bug or a feature? Should PalmOne openly tell its customers that their data is definitely not save? Feel free to tell me your opinion!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

We have a new author

Dear readers,
yet again we have a new face posting on TamsPalm! His nickname is Bubu, and he will publish his real name in his profile as time goes by(as we find the button). But lets listen to what he has to say:

Dear Readers,
a new name will appear on Tam Hanna's Palm OS Blog: "Bubu". But who is that?

"Bubu" is my nickname in several (german) forums and on blogger.com. My real name is Thomas Busch, I'm from Regensburg, Germany. I'm also a member of the local palm user group. I own a Tungsten T3, which is already my 4th Palm OS device.

Why am I here?

Well, I already have a blog where I write about my experience on Palm handhelds. But I'm doing it in german. After Tam Hanna had discovered my blog, he asked me if I would like to write some articles on his blog, too. I said "yes" and now here I am!

I hope you will enjoy my articles. But you have to know that writing english texts is still a little challenge to me. So please do not grumble too much about gramatical mistakes or wrong spelling. But also feel free to tell me if you like my articles or not. This is the only way I can improve them.

But now I told you enough about me, let's get back to our handhelds!

So, please don't flame him too much! And-please-don't forget to comment if you like what he writes or have some feedback! This is what we feed on!
Best regards from the TamsPalm team

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Cobalt is out!! Really!! Uhh, Kinda??

You may have seen pictures and some info from DevCon recently about the Oswin Cobalt handheld. What you may not have heard is that Oswin sold some of these units to DevCon attendees. That means that a Cobalt handheld has now officially been released. It should be able to run alot of Palm software, including any well written 68k programs. Developers can also now write native Cobalt apps using the Palm API and many new features. Is this really a release, or not? We still dont know how long it will take for there to be a handheld on the market, but obviously they are ready.

PS: Dmitry dont get mad at me, I know OS5 can do native Cobalt apps, just not integrated the same way.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

RANT: PalmOne's customer care may kill this blog...

This is a rant! I am not too likely to get a IPAQ now that I think about it once again
Face it. My Tungsten T3 will be at PalmOnes for the fourth time in a few days. They cannot do an advance exchange, altough they know that I have to maintain this blog, do testing for opensource teams and also create programs myself... .
And slowly but surely, I have enough. I am pretty sure that this T3 is the last one I will have, and that I will try to get a packaged one to sell at ebay's. And then, I'll prolly get myself an IPAQ. Farewell TamsPalm, say Hello to TamsPPC!
The reason for thinking about this transition is simple. The Zodiac is not available in Austria and I don't want to undergo hassles if it ever breaks. The IPAQ, however, is available in a store next door! My friends all run IPAQs, and yes, Windows CE is difficult to use. But the hardware works all the time, and the software can be fixed by a talented coder! Even if the device softresets every two hours or so and takes a minute to restart, it is available almost all the time,. Butr a PalmOS handheld that needs to go to service every four months is capable of becoming a major hassle.

Palmsource should really try to get a good hardware licencee that produces products with quality control and non hissing,... screens! Else, this platform's gonna die, and this really soon! Sorry to say this-just my 2 cents...
Anyone wanna trade? Anyone feels like accelerating the process? Anyone, wanna do anything?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The UX50 is under fire

Recently, a few websited leaked information about the new HTC magician that is also known as XDA 4 or MDA 4. And is extremely similar to the beloved UX series that were once produced by Sony. Here is a list of the specs:

  • 520MhZ Intel Bulverde

  • 128MB RAM

  • 96MB ROM

  • Windows Mobile 5.0

  • VGA screen

  • 210g


(data from eprice)
Also, there are more keyboard PocketPC's coming to the market that the UX50 reopened. Just look at the HTC Wizard and other rumoured machines.
When the UX50 entered the market, most people beleived that it would fail. Psion had keyboard+touchscreen and died. Same was valid for the old handheld PC's. Actuallyx, the reasons are pretty obious. The Revo's were too expensive, and the old Windows CE machines were too slow and too expensive. But if HTC gets it right, Windows Mobile may just take this market. PalmSource should really do something here!
What do you think?

Linux for the Tungsten E

Just in case somebody wonders-there is a Linux port on its way for the Tungsten E handheld. Romain Goyet is busily at work over at Sourceforge and his machine already boots a Linux kernel!
Altough the Linux still cannot handle the LCD controller, it is evident that it boots and runs. Support for SDIO, Sound, IRDA, USB and Screen is planned. Of course, extra developers would speed up that process. So, just in case you are interested-pop over or email him at [r.goyet@gmail.com]. definitely a nice thing!

Cobalt has been spotted at Devcon! What does that mean to you?



Firstly, I would like to say this info is from a PIC article here. They really got the scoop on this one. I'll summarize the story here.

Now, the device was developed by Oswin, and will be shipped to OEMs for mass production. It is somewhat similar to a Treo, as it is a Smartphone, and has a camera. One rather large downside is that its screen is only 240x320, and there is no keyboard. The upside is that because it is a POS PDA, Graffiti can be used for text input.

As PIC says, this is unlikely to be a Treo killer because of its lack of a keyboard, but also because it has a smaller, lower resolution screen, and runs a new operating system, which may or may not make it easier to use. It has a miniSD slot, which is needed, but most would likely prefer a full sized card slot.

Regardless of how it compares to the treo, it will still be a good smartphone, as touchscreens are hard to come by in this genre. The camera is a good feature for a high end smartphone, but we'll just have to see how the device turns out.

What do you think? Is this going to be a successfull smartphone, or dead in the water?